21 July 2020

Star Trails Photography, Volume 2

The "Settings"

ISO

This controls the "sensitivity" of the image sensor. The lower this number, the less sensitive it is to light. We need this down to the lowest possible value so as to avoid noise since we will be setting the slowest shutter speed.

On my phone, the lowest value is 100,

Shutter speed

We need a slower shutter speed for maximum exposure. We need that star light to hit the image sensor for the longest time possible.

The max is 30 seconds on my phone.

Focus

The stars are at unfathomable distances from us. Set this to infinity.

Color Temperature

Mostly we would be done about here, but I have found it useful to tweak the temperature knob as well. The accurate value will depend on the sky conditions at that time.

Around 4500 Kelvin has worked for me most of the time.

Timer

This is really optional, but trust me you are better off setting this. Your hand might shake the camera just a little bit when you tap the glass to start the 30 second long exposure. Setting this ensures that you are a safe distance away when the capture starts.

The lowest setting, 3 seconds works.

And you are good! Mount the phone on the tripod, find a clear portion of sky and hit capture.

Hah! Not too shabby, huh?

But, what about the star trails image that was teased in the previous post, you say? Well, that is actually 100s of individual shots blended into one single image. Click here for the next iteration of this series where we explore capturing these 100s of pictures.